FIF Awareness Webinar Hosted by the Office of Research
The Office of Research organized an awareness webinar for LUMS faculty members, on April 20, 2022, which details the application and review process for Faculty Initiative Fund (FIF). FIF is an internal funding mechanism that is intended to help faculty members develop innovative research projects that might enhance the university’s research culture and lead to larger endeavors, such as new research initiatives, external funding opportunities, or unusually creative works. FIF is a year-long competitive grant of up to Rs. 1,000,000 which is mainly open to all full-time regular faculty members. This was organized ahead of the upcoming FIF call cycle in July, to share proposal drafting and submitting strategies with potential applicants so they may maximize their chances of winning the award. The session also focused on statistics of the success rate of each school and how proposals are reviewed by the University Research Council (URC) during evaluation, which is a crucial step in the award process.
After the OR team presented a breakdown of the grant cycle, application and review process, evaluation methodology, and budget utilization, Faiza Shah shared a few strategies on how to capitalize on proposal writing in a manner that makes a well-written proposal stand out and increases its chances of receiving a higher score. The OR also invited Dr. Muhammad Abubakr, Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering, SBASSE and Dr. Muhammad Shehryar Shahid, Associate Professor SDSB as guest speakers. Dr. Abubakr has an impressive success rate of 70% as he was awarded the FIF grant 7 times. He was invited to speak to the attendees and share from his own practice of successful proposal. Dr. Abubakr emphasized successful proposal present a compelling intersection of societal impact of the study as well as implications of the scientific research conducted under it. Similarly, Dr. Shehryar has a success rate of 84% and has been awarded the FIF grant 6 out of a total 7 calls that he applied for. Dr. Shehryar also shared insights from his experience as a previous URC member. In his experience, a proposed study on an unconventional idea is more likely to stand out and win the grant. He also encouraged the attendees to apply consistently, for as many calls as possible, to increase their chances of being awarded.
A Question-and-Answer session followed the talk where common concerns and queries presented by faculty members was raised and addressed by the OR team. Questions regarding the evaluation process and different categories of research performed, such as Basic or Applied research were presented and addressed by the OR team. Faculty members were also encouraged to join the URC to familiarize themselves with the review process in depth. The two-hour long webinar came to a close after an enthusiastic discussion, with a suggestion to hold similar webinars and workshops on other grant types from the OR.